CEO of Artfare
If 2020 is all about pandemic-friendly platforms that replace lost opportunity, Artfare tops the list as a necessary marketplace for independent artists. Founded in 2019 by Aki Karja and Joonas Makkonen as a means of connecting independent artists directly with collectors and other art world professionals, the Artfare online marketplace and community have slowly been gaining ground over the last two years. “We felt that the art market was broken, and we could provide a connectivity tool that would bypass a lot of the infrastructure of the art market,” CEO and co-founder Aki Karja said. Artfare distinguishes itself online from other virtual marketplaces by offering a curated database of artists without representation.
As the art world moved online during the pandemic, Artfare saw gains. “From our perspective, it mobilized people who hadn’t previously been collecting. They were buying original artwork from between $400 to $1,200 online,” he told Observer. “It felt like people were looking at their walls and wanted some reasonably priced art to make their homes feel better.”
They intend to keep adding between 40 and 50 artists to the database per month as they move forward. “We’re almost 600 artists now,” Karja reports, an impressive number considering each person has been hand-picked. Notably, the database includes the work of Alex Paik, an artist also on this year’s list of changemakers.